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Councilman John Akouri, former Washington, DC Press Secretary & Capitol Hill Advisor, is President & CEO of the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

THIS JUST IN: Lebanon Announces its Boycott of the Arab Summit

BEIRUT...Lebanon's Information Minister Ghazi Aridi says the government will not attend this month's Arab summit in Syria. Aridi says one of the main reasons for boycotting the meeting was parliament's failure to elect a new Lebanese president. Many members of Lebanon's pro-Western majority blame Syria for working with the country's opposition to block the election.
Aridi: "Given the continuous vacuum and the insistence on the Arab initiative, and to confirm that Lebanon is represented at any summit by its Christian president, and in view of the harm done to Lebanon by Syrian-Lebanese relations, the Cabinet has decided to abstain from participation in the Arab Summit. The decision not to participate does not imply ruptures with Syria, but the need for Lebanon's sovereignty to be respected. Lebanon's absence from the summit does not mean absence from any work which strengthens Arab relations."
"The decision was adopted in light of blocking presidential elections and Lebanon's determination to be represented at the summit by "the only Christian president among all Arab heads of state."
A statement read by Aridi after a meeting by Premier Fouad Saniora's government, said Lebanon would also boycott preparatory meetings that set the stage for the summit that would convene in Damascus on March 29. The decision, according to the statement, reflects the need "to respect Lebanon's sovereignty and independence." The decision was adopted in light of blocking presidential elections and Lebanon's determination to be represented at the summit by "the only Christian president among all Arab heads of state," the statement noted. It also reflects the rejection by the Lebanese people to adapt to the existing presidential void, according to the statement. Such a boycott is a "precedent that has been imposed on us," it noted.

JOHN AKOURI ONLINE NEWSROOM 'We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. We will not tire, or rest, until the war on terror is won.' -- PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH Add to end of above"line without paranthesis when wanting to loop sound (( loop="-1">